As criticism of the first response from parents grows, police in Texas have updated critical aspects of Tuesday’s tragic school shooting.
According to authorities, the gunman loitered outside the Uvalde school for 12 minutes before entering the building unchecked.
This contrasted with earlier reports that the assailant was confronted and shot at by a police officer.
According to officials, he killed 19 children and two teachers before being shot dead 90 minutes after arriving.
This delay, combined with video evidence of angry parents being tackled and handcuffed by cops while the gunman was still inside the school, has sparked public outrage and examination of the initial response.
It also casts doubt on assertions made by state Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week, who praised the “rapid response” of “brave local officials” who he claimed had engaged the gunman before he entered the school. “They have shown incredible bravery by running toward gunshots,” he said.
Texas Ranger Victor Escalon gave the most recent timetable at a press conference, saying multiple times that he wanted to “clarify” previous assertions. He defended the cops’ actions and alluded to the emotional toll the shooting had taken on them. “We’re all in pain on the inside,” he admitted.
However, following Thursday’s briefing, the timeline of events remained unclear, and questions remained about how long it took officers to arrive and why the gunman, Salvador Ramos, was inside the school for more than an hour before being killed – not by local officers, but by a tactical unit led by US border agents.
Ramos crashed his car nearby at11:28, according to Mr. Escalon, with the first emergency contact arriving two minutes later after witnesses reported a guy with a pistol. Ramos then opened fire on people of the public, roamed the school grounds, and entered around 11:40 p.m. through an unlocked door.
Mr Escalon said police arrived on the scene four minutes later. It’s unknown how near they went to the gunman or if they tried to enter the classroom where the shooting occurred.
The police were initially described as “within making entrance” and were forced to take cover after coming under heavy fire. Mr. Escalon updated this on Thursday. He explained, “They [didn’t] make entry quickly because of the gunfire they were getting.”
A team lead by an elite Border Patrol tactical unit shot the gunman dead at 12:45 a.m. Mr. Escalon downplayed previous police allegations that there had been continual shooting for the previous hour. He told reporters, “The most of the firing was in the beginning.”
Witnesses have said that police were afraid to face the perpetrator, and videos from the scene show officers gathered outside while being encouraged to attack the building quickly by anxious family members.
After demanding – along with other parents – that officers enter the school, one woman told the Wall Street Journal that she was temporarily detained and accused of hindering a police investigation. Angeli Rose Gomez claimed she witnessed one father being tasered, another being pepper-sprayed, and a third being shoved to the ground by an officer.
Ms Gomez, who was later released, stated, “The police were doing nothing.” She claimed she scaled the school fence and dashed inside to save her two children. “They [the cops] were simply standing on the other side of the fence. They had no intention of entering or fleeing.”
The Associated Press quoted Javier Cazares, whose daughter Jacklyn was slain in the incident, as saying, “They say they surged in.” “That’s something we didn’t notice.”
“‘You guys need to go in there,’ a lot of us were arguing with the cops. You must all carry out your responsibilities.’ ‘We can’t do our jobs because you guys are interfering,’ they said.”